Lifestyle blogger Aileen Xu ran a monthly thank-you list this past year.
Sometimes it was the big stuff: "I'm grateful that my family is so understanding, I'm grateful that it matters to many people."
And sometimes it was the small blessings of life: "July 2018 : I'm grateful for good hair after I've showered. " Xu started making such lists when she was in college," at a time when I'm just not in a very good place in my life was. " Well, the 28-year-old lifestyle blogger and creator recommends her practice to nearly 750,000 subscribers.
And it was not hard to sell.
"I think there has been a tendency in recent years to focus on gratitude," says psychologist Laurie Santos, who teaches in Yale a course on the science of well-being and happiness.
Gratitude is endorsed by wellness blogs and magazines. You can buy various types of gratitude books or download apps that remind you to write down your blessings.
"These types of products can remind us that we need time to be grateful," says Santos. "But it's also important to remember that gratitude is free."
And it seems that your gratitude is worth it: There is a growing body of research into the benefits of gratitude. Studies have shown that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, reduce stress, and improve interpersonal relationships. Earlier this year, a study found that maintaining a Grateful Journal reduced materialism and increased generosity among the youth.
In another August study, high school students who were asked to write thank-you notes also reported healthier food. There is also evidence that the risk of heart disease and depression may be reduced in some people.
That's why gratitude is very important in Santos' lucky class. "This is one of the practices that really convinces in the field of positive psychology," she says, because it takes very little time, and "the benefits are so powerful."
Creating gratitude lists is one way to access these benefits. You could thank God or the universe. You can keep your gratitude private or share it with others. The best way to express and express gratitude can be different for each person.
The students of Santos are not only kept in thanksgiving magazines, but also asked to write a thank-you letter and read it to the recipient. "I can show measurable improvements in well-being just one month after the end of well-being," says Santos.
What works for some people may not work for others. To find your best method, "[r] you really think about what feels good and what feels natural or meaningful to you," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, Lucky and Studied gratitude.
] Some may find that a daily morning gratitude dose can be transformative. "It helps me feel awake and ample," says Sam Khazai, a 38-year-old actor based in New York who uses a journal listing three things he's grateful for every day.
"I know that somehow sounds like meta," he says. "But to practice gratitude brings so much gratitude to me."
Although it sometimes happened that he skipped a day or even several days when he felt particularly bad. "Or if I do not skip these days, I lied directly to my thank you journal … I filled it with things that I had hoped to be grateful for," he says – but he was not grateful and forced to feel bad at.
"Gratitude is a very rich emotion, but also a kind of more complicated," notes Lyubomirsky. "Sometimes, when you express your gratitude, you may feel humble or in debt or embarrassed, so it's not always pleasant."
In a study, Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that blessing blessings increased happiness once a week, but not to do so three times a week. "That suggests that most people were over-crowded at least three times a week," she says. "And too much gratitude can lead to a kind of misfire."
There is also a lack of research into how gratitude exercises affect people with clinical depression, anxiety, or suicide bombers, Lyubomirsky says. "If you are depressed and asked to express gratitude, you may have difficulty thinking about what you are thankful for or you really feel guilty that you have not repaid the person you are grateful for." [19659004InfactforallresearchonthebroadbenefitsofexpressinggratitudethereisalsoevidencethatthisisnotforeveryoneAndit'snotapanacea-itcannotmakeinjusticelossorpaindisappear
Thanks to gratitude, we can give hope. "Research shows that focusing on the positive in addition to the negative can increase our mood more than we expect," says Santos.
In Oakland, California, 31-year-old psychiatrist Zeyda Garcia agrees. In really difficult times, when she lost a job and slept on her mother's couch, she felt grateful.
But she was still trying to find something. "Even if only – I'm thankful for the sun that shines or can wake up," she says. It felt hokey and "somehow unreal".
But in the end it helped. "It allowed me to ground myself," she says. "It allowed me to remember what was going well in a world of chaos."